Dangerous Dogs for Your Week 7 College Football Picks

Kevin Stott

Friday, October 10, 2014 1:07 PM GMT

Alabama & Clemson are always formidable NCAAF opponents but it seems the oddsmakers are giving their worthy opponents, Arkansas & Louisville, too many points this coming weekend.

Louisville Looking for Upset Against Clemson at Death Valley
Louisville (+10, Pinnacle) vs. Clemson
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT (ABC): Always a very tough place for opponents to play, Clemson Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina is not exactly a familiar place for Louisville (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS)—recent members of the ACC Atlantic Division—but the Cardinals should be able to hang with host Clemson (3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS) and possibly even beat the Tigers if everything goes right on Saturday afternoon in the Palmetto State. Oddsmakers have made Clemson healthy 10-point favorites (Pinnacle)—the line has dropped ½ point from 10½ since the start of this story—in this game and the Tigers are -380 on the Money Line (Winner) with underdogs Louisville +300 (Pinnacle) to pull off the upset here and if everything goes right, the Cardinals (12-1 SU, 6-6 ATS in 2013) could very well do so, especially with star WR DeVante Parker expected to be back and producing for Louisville.

The Cardinals will look to their, ranked an impressive #6 in the nation in Points Allowed (12.7 ppg) to try to hold Clemson and freshman QB Deshaun Watson (73/106, 1,118 passing yards, 12 TDs) down but Louisville’s impressive defensive numbers are a bit deceiving as half of its games have been against Murray State, Florida International and Wake Forest—schools that hardly strike the Fear of God into their opponents (Louisville won those three by a combined score of 120-34). On offense, Cardinals sophomore QB Will Gardner (6’3”, 226 pounds) practiced on Tuesday and was listed as Probable for this game, so the likelihood of both QB Gardner and WR Parker playing is a very good thing for the guests and probably the reason the line has moved a little (it was 11½ at one point). Before placing your College Football pick, understand that without these two, the Cardinals would really be hard-pressed to find a way to win this one in Death Valley. Louisville will also look to RBs Brandon Radcliff (362 rushing yards, 6 TDs) and Dominique Brown (327 yards, 3 TDs) as well as WR James Quick (23 receptions, 348 yards, 3 TDs) to contribute offensively. But the biggest obstacle the Cardinals will be up against on Saturday afternoon will be the hostile environment at Clemson Memorial Stadium and the raucous Tigers fans as Dabo Swinney (44-29 ATS) and Clemson have a very tough tiger’s den indeed. But giving a quality team like Louisville double-digits—the Cardinals are 10-2 ATS as Road Underdogs over the last four seasons—is just too much despite Clemson’s proclivity to blow out some teams at home. This one should be close throughout with Louisville very possibly being able to pull off the big road upset. And one very notable trend in closing: Louisville is 9-0-1 ATS as Double-Digit Underdogs coming off a SU (straight up) win (Syracuse, 28-6), but this line may be -9½ or less in the future making that trend potentially void for some bettors.

Free College Football Picks: Louisville +10

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Razorbacks Look to Stem Crimson Tide
#6 Alabama vs. Arkansas (+10½, 54½, Pinnacle)
Saturday, 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT (ESPN): Last year in this SEC West meeting, Alabama (11-2 SU, 6-6 ATS) absolutely thrashed Arkansas, 52-0 as 28½-point favorites in Tuscaloosa and some of the relevant trends here point to taking the Crimson Tide—Alabama is 5-1 ATS L6 vs. Arkansas and 3-1 ATS the L4 in Fayetteville—but much like the Louisville-Clemson game, 10 points feels a little bit too high and the Razorbacks will have the big home-field edge here on Saturday, playing at DWR Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Junior QB Brandon Allen (97 completions, 751 yards, 9 TDs) will be a big key to Arkansas’ success here, but he’ll have to do everything right as the Alabama defense (#12 in nation, allowing an average of 15.8 ppg) is unforgiving and hit like they get credit for how hard each tackle they make actually is on some invisible Pain Scale. And Allen and Arkansas will need help from the dynamic duo of RBs Alex Collins (86 rushes, 621 yards, 6 TDs, 7.2 ypr) and Jonathan Williams (66 rushes, 486 yards, 8 TDs, 7.4 ypr) as well as WRs Keon Hatcher (13 receptions, 231 yards 2 TDs) and TE AJ Derby (8 receptions, 102 yards, 2 TDs). But this team has proven it can score points (#7 in nation averaging 44.6 ppg) but many of those lofty numbers were built on the fairly soft backs of Nicholls State (won 73-7), Texas Tech (won 49-28) and Northern Illinois (won 52-14). But before we besmirch the strength of the Razorbacks schedule, it’s important to remember that they do play in the rugged SEC and have this game with #6 Alabama (4-1 SU, 1-4 ATS) on tap and have already lost to two pretty fierce college football teams in then-#6-now-#1 Auburn (45-21) at Auburn and also-then-#6 Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy-hopeful Kenny Hill last weekend at home in OT (35-28). So, besides only losing to really good programs, head coach Bret Bielema (8-8 ATS at Arkansas) and Arkansas (3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS) are also apparently addicted to playing teams ranked #6 in the country as this will be its third such encounter.

In the end, this will simply be a test of how well the Razorbacks can get their offense going against a formidable opponent and with bitter memories of a 52-0 pasting last year in their minds, the home field edge, a little confidence and two RBs who can hopefully generate some first downs and ToP for the Hogs, Arkansas should be able to hang with Alabama and the first quarter will reveal whether or not the Razorbacks came to play and actually think they can beat a somewhat overrated Bama squad which lost last week at #11 Mississippi, 23-17.

Free College Football Picks: Arkansas +10½ (Pinnacle)

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More Free College Football Picks Worth a Look: North Carolina +16½ (at #6 Notre Dame)

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